2013 – Animal Collections

Grand Prize

"Moon Light Water"

by Annika Yeh, Grade 3
Vancouver, Wash.

Most True to Theme

"Colony of Koalas"

by Cynthia Wu, Grade 3
McLean, Va.

Most Entertaining/ Creative

"The Gorilla Band"

by Shaina Rivera, Grade 4
Newark, N.J.

Most Artistic

"A Pack of Dogs in Grassland"

by Gianna Zou, Grade 3
Pine Brook, N.J.

Most Artistic

"A Colorful World of Dolphins"

by Nicole Zhu, Grade 4
Livingston, N.J.

Most Informative

"Band of Cheetah Brothers"

by Caden Stuart, Grade 4
Beulah, Mich.

Honorable Mentions

Isabella Anderson( Grade 4- Annadale, Va.); Amelia Chen (Grade 3 – Springfield, Va.); Kelly Chen (Grade 3 – Lewisville, Texas); Saranya Gadwala (Grade 2 – Chantilly, Va.); Noemi González (Grade 4 – Newark, N. J. ); Jin Yingchen (Grade 4 – Ann Arbor, Mich.);  Chris Nie (Grade 3 – Fairfax, Va.); Rachael Ogawa-Friedman (Grade 4 – Herndon, Va.); April Tian (Grade 4 – Aldie, Va.); Hannah Wang (Grade 3 – San Ramon, Calif.)


Animals are one of nature’s most exciting and interesting subjects.  How many times have you marveled at a brightly colored bird or a really crazy-looking bug?  Whether a fawn, a frog or a fox catches your eye, animals are interesting subjects to discover and research.

There are many different kinds of animals—amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles.   Can you name an animal from each of those categories?

Groups of animals are referred to by a specific name known as a collective noun. Many different collective nouns exist in the English language to describe specific groups of animals.  Here are some fun examples: 

An army of ants

A knot of frogs

A lounge of lizards

A parliament of owls

 A school of sharks 

A streak of tigers 

Some animals have more than one collective noun that can describe their group:

a herd of kangaroos;

a mob of kangaroos; or

a troop of kangaroos.

Think about your favorite animal group and find the collective noun that describes it.  Maybe the idea of a nest of bunnies makes you smile while a smack of jellyfish makes you frown. Read stories and watch videos to get inspired or think about your favorite animal groups and what they might be called. Then create a picture that shows your animal collection.  Make your picture colorful; use paint, crayons, pens, pencils or markers! 

Guiding Questions 

This year’s contest invited young scientists and artists to research an animal collection and consider the following questions:

Does your animal collection have a specific name?

Is your collection amphibian, bird, fish, invertebrate, mammal, or reptile?

How do the animals in your collection interact with each other? 

Does this group of animals behave differently during the day than at night?

What strengths are associated with a group of animals that individuals don’t gain?  Do they stay warm?  Find food?  Stay safe?

Where does your collection of animals live? What is this place like? What makes it a good home for them?  

Suggested Projects

Imagine you’re in charge of picking names for groups of animals… 

(For Younger Students)

Pick a group of animals and read about where and how they live.  What collective name do you think best describes this group?  Why did you pick this name?  Draw this group of animals showing what you’ve learning about how they live and why you picked this name.

 (For Older Students)Puzzleimage

Pick a group of animals, so some research, and then create a story about the group.  What collective name do you think best describes this group?  How do the animals within this group interact?  What are the benefits to them living in a group as opposed to individually?  Draw this group of animals showing how they interact with each other and their environment.

Test your knowledge of collective nouns and animal names by completing the Animal Collections crossword puzzle

Resources For Students


A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns2011, by Woop Studios, preschool and up.

“From the mesmerizing cover to the dazzling endpapers, this is a fabulously fascinating work of wondrous words.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review.





CowsHerd of Cows, Flock of Sheep: Adventures in Collective Nouns, by Rick Walton (Author) and Julie Olson (Illustrator), grades K-2. 

“When Farmer Bob, exhausted from days of harvesting, sleeps through the heavy rain and the rising floodwaters, it takes the cooperation of many animals to save him. A cloud of gnats, a rafter of turkeys, herds and flocks, gaggles and packs, swarms and nests are led by a drove of pigs though Plan A, Plan B, and finally on to Plan C, which succeeds in pulling the sleepy farmer from impending disaster. Olson’s illustrations flow right along with the story’s action. In fact, youngsters will be able to “read” the whole story by following the brightly colored paintings and will find new details with each viewing. Reading this book aloud will create a cacophony of animal sounds that will reverberate throughout the library.” -School Library Journal.


DragonsA Dignity of Dragons: Collective Nouns for Magical Beasts, by Jacqueline K. Ogburn; illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli, grades 2-4. 

“Gorgeous mixed-media illustrations complement dozens of inventive collective nouns, among them a “bolt of hippogriffs,” a “splash of mermaids,” and a “dazzlement of Quetzalcoatls” as well as the eponymous “dignity of dragons.” These creative descriptions comprise the only text in the book. A four-page glossary defines each fantastic creature and identifies the culture(s) of its origin. Ceccoli has created a stylized and luminous fantasyland energetically inhabited by Ogburn’s enchanting bestiary. Fans of mythology and fantasy as well as budding lexophiles will savor this sophisticated picture book. A caveat for conservative collections: the mermaids, sphinx, and sirens are, collectively, a triad of the tastefully topless.” – School Library Journal.

GeeseA Gaggle of Geese: the Collective Names of the Animal Kingdom,by Philippa-Alys Browne, grades K-2.






Resources for Teachers & Parents

National Education Standards  – Click here to learn about the education standards supported by this year’s contest. 

Collective Nouns: Lesson plan with graphic organizers for grades 2-5

The graphic organizers offered here should be used as students encounter collective nouns in their reading. You might want to highlight collective nouns with high-interest picture books focusing on collective nouns. http://bit.ly/1g0BUu0

 An Exaltation of Larks: The Ultimate Edition Paperback By James Lipton http://amzn.to/14FGka2

More Information

Download the 2013 IGES Art Contest Announcement.